Utility seeks approval of shared transformer agreement
Idaho Power Co. is asking state regulators to approve a transformer sharing agreement with 43 other electric utilities in the nation. The agreement provides that participating utilities may be called upon to provide or sell spare electric transformers when a terrorist attack disables one or more utility substations.
The agreement, which must be approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, creates an industry-wide pool of spare electric transformers that can be transferred from one utility to another in the event of an attack on the nation’s electric infrastructure. The 43 participating utilities own more than 60 percent of the nation’s interstate transmission system.
Under the agreement, each utility is required to maintain and, if necessary, acquire a specific number of transformers in each voltage class in which it participates.
Idaho Power states that it will lower its future overall costs in order to maintain spare transformers in its inventory. The utility is not seeking any immediate change in rates as a result of the agreement.
“Although the company has taken significant steps to protect its infrastructure from a possible terrorist attack, Idaho Power does not believe it would be feasible or economically practical to maintain in its inventory the large number of spare transformers needed to address every ‘worst-case scenario’ for a terrorist attack upon the electric system,” Idaho Power states in its application. “This sharing agreement will allow Idaho Power and its customers to have the added benefits of access to transformers in a national emergency without the added costs and risks of buying and carrying large surpluses of spare transformers in its inventory.”
Those wishing to submit comments on Idaho Power’s proposal must do so by no later than Dec. 19. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-06-27) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
A full text of the commission’s order, along with Idaho Power’s application, is available on the commission’s Web site. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.